Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara: “It was a very tough season. But even in that situation, we were able to support each other and move forward.”

Posted on 2024-04-23 • No comments yet


Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara about this season and support of each other.

original source: sportiva.shueisha.co.jp dd.19th April by Yamamoto Yumeko

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Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara talked about this season, where despite injuries they won silver medal at 2024 World Championships and deepened their bond as a pair. Here’s a translation of thier comments made in th iterview posted on Web Sportiva.

Q: Looking back at the first half of the season that you missed due to injury, and the second half of the season, when you achieved great results with second place in the Four Continents Championships and second place in the World Championships, how was this season for you?

Ryuichi Kihara: It was a very tough season. I couldn’t practice because of the injury and I couldn’t participate in the competitions I wanted to participate in, so I think it was a season of endurance.

But even in that situation, we were able to support each other and move forward. Until last season, I often led Riku-chan (Miura), but this season, I had a lot of opportunities to be helped, so I think it was good that we were able to reconfirm our bond.

Riku Miura: Starting with the injury, Ryuichi-kun, as he said, helped me a lot last season, but this season, he often spoke negatively, so I thought about how I could support him and bring him back to the positive Ryuichi-kun we’re used to seeing. I think I was able to grow mentally.

Q: What kind of things made Kihara-san feel negative?

Even though the practice itself was going well, when the timing didn’t match a bit, he would wonder, “Why can’t the timing match?”

Ryuichi Kihara: I was mainly struggling with my own jumps. I couldn’t skate for 3 months, so I had a really hard time getting back the feeling of the jumps. I always felt confident in my jumps, but this season, I was scared of my hip, and couldn’t get my own timing back.

There were many days when I was thinking about what I should do, so I guess I was feeling negative. I think the struggle of not being able to jump my own jumps was bigger than the anxiety about the pair elements.

Q: What did you focus on the most when supporting Kihara-san, Miura-san?

Riku Miura: As I have received a lot of verbal support so far, I also told Ryuichi-kun the same way, “Ryuichi-kun, you can do it.”

Q: How did you feel receiving such support?

Ryuichi Kihara: When I’m feeling negative, words like that often don’t resonate, but they gave me a chance to bounce back when I was down.

Q: In addition to deepening your bond, is there anything else you feel you were able to grow in this season?

Riku Miura: We didn’t prepare well for the Four Continents Championships this year and couldn’t perform satisfactorily, but we had a lot of discussions on how to rectify it, and we were able to train really well during the six weeks between the Four Continents and the World Championships. I gained the confidence that if we kept up this practice, we would be able to deliver results.

Q: Sepecifically, what do you mean by good practice?

Ryuichi Kihara: Last season, when we achieved the “Grand Slam,” was a great season, but there were many times when our progress was hindered because we got hung up on each other’s mistakes in practice, asking ourselves, “Why did we make a mistake?” However, this season, instead of worrying about mistakes, we constantly discussed as a team how we could improve, which drastically reduced our loss of time and allowed us to make progress every day.

Our coach also said, “This is like pre-Olympic practice,” and I think it was good to be reminded of the importance of good practice. Our coach also told us, “If the two of you were in perfect condition and could practice like this not only for these six weeks but throughout the season, we would definitely return to form and not lose.” We felt that too.

Q: I heard that Miura-san had a subluxation of her shoulder during the practice before the World Championships free program. What was the situation?

Riku Miura: During the 6-minute practice for the Free Program, when I fell on the throw triple Lutz…

Ryuichi Kihara: She over-rotated at the moment of landing.

Riku Miura: And when I put my hand back, my shoulder went up and I subluxated it. I didn’t feel it at all during the performance. I think I was able to overcome it because I had adrenaline and painkillers.

Q: How is your injury now, Miura-san?

Riku Miura: I am being told by the doctor that if I rest, it will return to the condition it was before the World Championships, as it was not as severe as the first time I dislocated it.

Ryuichi Kihara: We had an MRI taken and it was not as severe as we anticipated, so we were told that if we securely fixed it in external rotation and rested for six weeks, we would definitely return to the state before the injury.

Q: Are you properly resting?

Riku Miura: Yes, I am!

Q; I hope you get well soon. After the World Championships free skating, your expression, Miura-san, was impressive, but was it purely frustration, not pain?

Riku Miura: Yes. We had really good training for six weeks and we were going to reverse (win) in the Free program at the World Championships, so I was conflicted that I didn’t get the points because of my mistake. I thought, if only I had jumped there.

Ryuichi Kihara: I jumped all my jumps, so I didn’t care (laughs). I managed everything I could, so at the moment it ended I felt that I’d worked really hard for six weeks. I had been watching her do really good practice all along, and the fact that her Salchow missed was also something that didn’t happen in practice.

Of course, I was frustrated, and we weren’t able to achieve the perfect performance we were aiming for, but I had a strong feeling that we had done our best. So, we talked right afterward about, “We did well, didn’t we?”… did we?

I don’t remember what we talked about (laughs), I was a bit tough too. But right after it ended… oh, I remember! Right afterward we talked about “Let’s definitely not get injured from the off-season next season, and let’s definitely recover what we could not do this year.” We had that conversation in the time before we got to the Kiss and Cry (laughs).

Q: You were already talking about next season before you got to the Kiss and Cry?

Ryuichi Kihara: We were (laughs). From the off-season, we’re going to review our lives, eliminate injuries, and we talked about definitely recovering everything we couldn’t do this year.

Q: Right after that, I didn’t expect that Kihara-san wouldn’t be able to attend the awards ceremony due to a health condition.

Ryuichi Kihara: I sincerely apologize for causing concern. The team doctor told me that it might have been exercise-induced asthma. I’ve had symptoms of coughing after competitions before, and I’ve had hyperventilation once in the past.

But this time, the symptoms were the worst they’ve ever been, and the cough wouldn’t stop, and from there I had difficulty breathing from hyperventilation, and I had to put on an oxygen mask. When I returned home and had a thorough examination at the hospital, it turned out to be regular asthma rather than sports-induced asthma, so I thought it would have been better if I had noticed sooner.

I had mistaken the difficulty breathing for lack of stamina from lack of training, so I’m glad that this time I was able to have a thorough examination at the hospital and determine the cause, and I was told that it could be improved.

Q: There were a lot of things about the World Championships, but were there things that were fun or where you learned something?

Riku Miura: As we mentioned earlier, the excitement is overwhelming right now that if we start practicing like we did for the six weeks from the Four Continents Championships to the World Championships from the start of next season, the results will definitely follow.

Ryuichi Kihara: The World Championships were a competition we approached with confidence, so there was the enjoyment of “we are going to show our best”. At the Four Continents Championships, we had only been able to practice the free skate twice, and the third time was the competition itself, so there was a lot of anxiety.

But at the World Championships, when we stood on the rink, we felt confident in ourselves. We felt that we were back and that we could prove our strength again, so I think it was a lot of fun.

Q: Can you tell us if you have any plans for next season?

Ryuichi Kihara: Everything is uncertain right now, so I don’t know what will happen, but this season we weren’t able to complete the program almost at all, so for next season, we want to properly create something different from before. There are various things we want to try technically, so first of all, we want to recover from the injury properly.”


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